Archive for February 2009




Le Brasier Australien

“Le Brasier Australien” was reported worldwide including in the French news. While France suffers through more Winter storms, bushfires ravage Australia.

Nothing reminds you more of your genesis than environmental forces. Bushfires define Australia. They are part of our ecology. Indeed much native flora needs fire for germination.

After years of drought, depleted water catchments, severe household water restrictions, dry crunchy gardens, and dirty cars, our surrounding bushland is tinder dry. All it takes is a carelessly disposed of cigarette butt, a lightning strike, or the twisted motives of a fire bug, to set the mulch alight. And that quickly rises into the unstoppable fire beast that destroys all in its path.

It is frightening, and I have experienced those events before in my life. It serves to firmly remind me that I am Australian to the core.

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Add a comment February 11, 2009

The spoken word

One way to get your daily fix of hearing the French spoken word is to watch the French news on SBS TV. Not only does it immerse you in the beautiful language but it also really helps to improve your comprehension of the French language.

The video vision that accompanies the news stories assists with understanding what is being spoken about. It is fun to pick out the words I do know and then to try to discern the overall story. It also reaffirms pronunciation.

Recently I watched a story about the latest storm in France that damaged homes, cut electricity supply, closed train lines, and caused the deaths of some people. I was amused to hear the news team interview the workers on the train lines who were clearing fallen trees from the tracks.

On the French news I have seen a movie review about the latest movie Slumdog Millionaire where they met the young Indian actors in their real homes in the poor parts of Mumbai. I had seen this movie and loved it. I was upset during the opening scenes to see the circumstances in which many Indian people live. It is a beautifully crafted movie.

Today on the French News I watched a story about protests across France. I am not quite sure, but I think the millions of people marching and waving placards were protesting about some proposed privatisation of the French departments of education, medical services, postal services and probably others.

A couple of days ago Australia was mentioned because two French tennis players were playing in the Australian Open in Melbourne. Our weather here during this tournament has been incredibly hot with the last three days reaching 43°C, 44°C and 45°C. I can’t begin to know how the players can withstand the heat on centre court in the enclosed stadium. The officials finally saw sense and closed the roof. Meanwhile in France snow falls. The two French players Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Gilles Simon were defeated but both played beautifully and did well against some fine opponents. Rafael Nadal was the eventual winner of this Grand Slam event.

I hope that if I continue to watch the French news on TV as often as I can then my French speaking skills will improve. It also transports me to France for 30 minutes.

Add a comment February 3, 2009

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